Two of America’s most prominent Catholic conservatives have called Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump “manifestly unfit to be president of the United States” and have warned that his winning the Republican nomination would pose “grave danger” to pro-life and pro-family causes as well as to religious freedom and limited government.
In their “Appeal to Our Fellow Catholics”—which was published today at National Review Online and which was signed by nearly three dozen Catholic professors, authors, and activists—Robert George and George Weigel say that while “no political party perfectly embodies Catholic social doctrine,” the Republican party has been an “imperfect…but serviceable” vehicle for “promoting causes at the center of Catholic social concern in the United States.” George and Weigel see those causes as imperiled by the prospect of Donald Trump as the party’s presidential nominee:
[Trump’s] campaign has already driven our politics down to new levels of vulgarity. His appeals to racial and ethnic fears and prejudice are offensive to any genuinely Catholic sensibility. He promised to order U.S. military personnel to torture terrorist suspects and to kill terrorists’ families — actions condemned by the Church and policies that would bring shame upon our country. And there is nothing in his campaign or his previous record that gives us grounds for confidence that he genuinely shares our commitments to the right to life, to religious freedom and the rights of conscience, to rebuilding the marriage culture, or to subsidiarity and the principle of limited constitutional government.
While acknowledging the appeal Trump’s campaign has for many Catholic voters, particularly those concerned about immigration, wage stagnation, and “stifling ‘political correctness,’” the letter’s authors state that “there are candidates for the Republican nomination who are far more likely than Mr. Trump to address these concerns, and who do not exhibit his vulgarity, oafishness, shocking ignorance, and—we do not hesitate to use the word—demagoguery.”
In addition to George and Weigel, the letter is signed by 35 other well-known conservative Catholics, including Ryan T. Anderson, Prof. Gerard V. Bradley, Mary Eberstadt, C.C. Pecknold, Robert Royal, and Edward Whelan.